In this day and age, diversity in the workplace is more important than it has ever been. Whether you are working to diversify your staff, or looking for ways to make diversity a main priority of your organization, you need to be aware of the multitude of benefits diversity can provide overall. By taking the time to educate yourself on what diversity can do for you, your employees, and your organization, you will be able to understand why diversity is so important for a successful business.
Employee engagement is defined as the degree in which employees are motivated, passionate about, and invested in the work they do. However, it is important to note that engagement is different from employee satisfaction, even though the two are often thought to be the same. Remember that employee satisfaction directly relates to the fulfillment of expectations in terms of employment. In other words, employee satisfaction is determined by compensation, career development, workplace atmosphere, among other aspects.
By focusing on diversity and inclusion, you will create a work environment in which everyone feels respected, welcomed, valued, and included by their peers — therefore increasing overall engagement across the organization. This is because in an environment where individuals feel free to express their ideas and opinions, they will proceed to contribute more often to the success of the organization.
Specific tasks to help support your employee engagement can be something as simple as developing and implementing company core values. These are the foundation of your organization’s company culture and can have a direct impact on the success of your business as well as hold your employees accountable.
Groups of individuals who are similar, in most cases, will think or work similarly as well. That is why a workforce that is diverse and inclusive will foster an environment that leads to increased innovation and productivity. This can be beneficial because then employees feel as though they are equally doing the work together leading to an overall more effective process.
Additionally, exposure to various groups of individuals directly leads to a more creative and collaborative work environment. Entrepreneur Robert F. Smith states, “What we’re really looking for are the smartest people on the planet to work for us. The key is to make sure that we go as broad as we can, so we can be reflective of what this planet looks like in the companies we operate.” Meaning, an organization who builds a workforce that reflects their values and passions has a positive chance at finding success. By curating a broad, more diverse group of people to collaborate with each other can bring fresh ideas and methods of work to ultimately bring a better product to your consumers.
When you bring together a group of people with varied ways of thinking, solutions can be reached much faster than in likeminded environments. Additionally, those who make decisions together in a collaborative environment are more likely to outperform those that work alone. Strong problem-solving skills can help information to be analyzed more efficiently, leading to more effective solutions that benefit both your organization and your customers.
While people may be fearful or intimidated by different or unique approaches to tasks, a cognitively diverse group can come to faster solutions and decisions. To foster positive relationships and effective decision-making, encourage brainstorm sessions, promote mutual understanding, and facilitate clear communication. Most importantly, it is important to recognize that everyone has differences, and to ensure that your people feel comfortable at all times.
A recent report by McKinsey discovered that companies who focus on racial and ethnic diversity are 36% more likely to have above average financial returns. Long-term support for employees demonstrates the stability of an organization, as well as the trust it has for their people while fostering growth for the overall business. By taking the time to ensure your organization is both diverse and inclusive throughout (especially within leadership) your company and services will appeal to a broader audience.
Diversity should resonate both internally and outside of the organization. This will attract more customers and investors as these groups of individuals will seek out companies that foster and promote diversity as a core value of their work. Additionally, a diverse workforce is more likely to resonate with a wider customer base in terms of their wants, needs, and pain points. This will make you a go-to within your field and in turn increase profitability and overall reputation.
Whether it is via online reviews or word of mouth, your company has a reputation within your field of expertise. Already diverse companies will attract a more diverse workforce no matter if it is in terms of age, ethnicity, race, or gender. Therefore, a workplace that fosters diversity and various work or learning styles will find that talent is more invested in their jobs long-term and therefore will reduce company turnover.
Job seekers are looking for inclusivity and anti-discriminatory practices. A highly diverse workforce can foster a healthy workplace reputation that will draw potential hires in. Arlan Hamilton, Founder of Backstage Capital states, “If you haven’t hired a team of people who are of color, female, and/or LGBT to actively turn over every stone, to scope out every nook and cranny, to pop out of every bush, to find every qualified underrepresented founder in this country, you’re going to miss out on a lot of money when the rest of the investment world gets it.” By seeking out a unique workforce, you will be investing in the growth and success of both your employees and organization, and that will reflect in the work you do.
By recognizing the benefits that diversity can bring to your organization, you can then find ways to successfully diversify your staff. Taking the time to ensure your employees feel seen and heard, will directly reflect in the work they are doing, and in turn, provide opportunities for continued success.